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Studio B With Shepard Smith

News/Business. Shepard Smith reports on the days top news stories. New. (CC)

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Montana 15, America 6, Washington 5, Katie 4, New Hampshire 3, Us 3, Max Bacchus 3, Michelle 2, John Tester 2, Obama 2, John Bollinger 1, Howard Dean 1, Salazar 1, Ku 1, Bozeman 1, Garrett 1, Sam 1, Illinois 1, Colorado 1, Cobra 1,
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  FOX News    Studio B With Shepard Smith    News/Business. Shepard Smith reports  
   on the days top news stories. New. (CC)  

    August 14, 2009
    3:00 - 4:00pm EDT  

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julie: president obama's town hall is next. [captioning made possible by fox news channel] captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org-- here we go. shepard: exactly 3:00 on the east coast, waiting for president obama, who is expected to speak any minute now in a town hall meeting on health care. they are getting ready, but he has not yet made his appearance. this will be different from other presidential town hall meetings, because this time, the audience has a different makeup, and it is possible that some of the people were so upset might get to pose questions to the president himself. it was a live look inside belgrade, at the airplane hangar where the event was being held. similar town hall meetings have been held all across the country, and a lot of them have become heated.
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the president held an earlier this week in new hampshire, and it was docile, really. poll after poll has shown that support to health care is dwindling, especially among republicans and independent of voters. president obama wants to extend health insurance to 45 million americans who do not have insurance. critics are saying that now was not the right time, the cost is too high, and by the way, the country is broke. soon, the president will take his message directly. major garrett is live the white house. are we expecting today might be more of the give-and-take with critics than we have been accustomed to? >> maybe. you have to understand, presidential forms are always more differential than ones involving lawmakers, be they congressmen or senators. is just the nature of the office, whether the occupant is high on the polls or low on the polls.
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president nature had town halls when his numbers were down, and crowds were respectful. the white house insists that this is not hand-pick, not. -screened. montana was a closely contested states in the general election, so it is possible that there will be more skeptics, more confrontational questions. but when push comes to shove, most americans are not faced-to- face confrontational with their president. it does not happen. it is part of the with our relationship to the presidency works. so there may be skeptics, but mainly, it will be deferential and polite because that is how they always happen.
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shepard: they have been running it up. of the trawlers off the church. -- the vitriol is off the charts. >> yes, and max bacchus -- john tester, the state has been there. in statewide elections, it was very hard fought, and that was a bit unusual. so they could be a bit more sympathetic to the democratic line of argumentation. even by historical standards, it might not be as revved up or vociferous or whatever you might use it on this topic.
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no matter what the question. shepard: it appears clear to me, and correct me if i'm wrong, that the white house was caught after guard by the level of resistance here. and though the message seems to be changing, what are they specifically doing to win folks over? >> i have talked to people in the industry who say, wait a minute, with pre-existing conditions and lifetime caps, the industry is given to negotiation. those have not gone so well. so the white house is turning most of its attention toward health insurance, moving away from things like public health
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option-pay or-play, paying higher taxes, or individual mandates so people can find ways of getting insurance if they do not have it. those are some of the broader components. the white house has stopped back on that, and there are some people in the white house, like howard dean, who wanted to be in the cabinet but was not offered. now they are saying that if it does not carry the name healthcare reform, you will begin to see criticism on the left. where the white house is not moving is inconsistent with what they originally fought for. so they are hearing it from both sides. shepard: all right. thank you for your time, and we will see you. see this blue screen? it says signal lost detective service id 1.
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what does that mean? we were in a digital world now. there was a time it was raining in montana, and the clouds were sick and tall. that is what blocks satellite signals. we would get a break up of a picture from an event like this, and all the networks are experiencing it. they will get it fixed. we would experience a break up normally, but because it is a digital world, and possibly one and zero here and there means you lose the entire signal, which is what has been happening from time to time. the president is in the room, and it sounds like some noise is there. let's listen. president obama, in what may be a unique town hall meeting. he is about to exchange words with the american public about how we need health care reform now. we will hear from him and the critics.
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[applause] >> hello, montana. hello, montana. thank you. thank you. thanks. have a seat. have a seat. thank you so much. thank you. i'm excited to be back in montana. i want to -- where is michelle? michelle and the girls were supposed to go whitewater rafting. i just heard some rain out there, so i do not know what is going on there, but they are on their way. i want to first acknowledged some outstanding public officials and a great friends. first of all, the man who is
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working tirelessly to make sure that the american people get a fair deal when it comes to health care in america. please give max bacchus a round of applause. [applause] one of my favorite people in washington, probably because he has not gone washington, given up for john tester. he still gets the same hair cut. [applause] your own star here in montana, please give brian schweitzer and his lovely wife, nancy, a big round of applause. [applause]
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the lieutenant governor, john bollinger, is here. give him a big round of applause. [applause] [applause] and one of the greatest secretary of the interior is in our history, former senator for colorado, can salazar is here. it is nice to be backed, nice to break. i am thrilled to have a chance to spend some time with the folks in this beautiful state. here in montana, you have bears and moose and helped -- helped
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-- elk, and in washington, you have mostly bowls. so this is a nice change of pace. i especially want to thank katie for her introduction. [applause] where did katy go. there she is, right there. her willingness to talk about such a painful experience is important because it is necessary to understand what is at stake in this debate. her story is the kind of story that i've read in letters all throughout the campaign and every day when i was president.
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i hear about them in town halls all across america. the stories of hard-working people doing the right thing acting responsibly, only to find out they are penalized because others are not doing the right thing, and on tuesday, i was in new hampshire, talking about people denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions. we're talking now about people like katie, and to have their policies provoked even though they were paying premiums because of a medical condition. and when you sure about the experiences, when you think about the pre-existing
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conditions, the thousands that have their policies canceled each year, i want you to remember one thing. there, but for the great grace of god, go i.. knock on wood, we are going to stay healthy. but we're no different than katie, than other americans. no different than other americans who were denied coverage, got drops, were charged fees they could not afford at a time when they need care. it is wrong, bankrupting families and businesses. we are going to fix it when we pass health insurance reform this year. we are going to fix it.
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[applause] i want to thank max for his hard work on a bill as chair of the finance committee. he is committed to getting this done. this is obviously a tough time in america, a tough time in montana. six months ago, we were losing 700 jobs each month. the economists of all stripes feared a second coming of the great depression. that is why we ask did as fast as we could to enact a recovery plan. i want to speak about planned, because it has covered how we speak about the debate. it was divided into three parts. one-third of the money went to tax cuts that have started showing up in the paychecks of
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about 400,000 working families in montana. 400,000 families have seen tax is reduced because of recovery. more than 200 montana small businesses have now qualified for new loans backed by the recovery act, including 200 in the bozeman area. another third of the money in the recovery act is for emergency relief for folks who were bearing the brunt of this recession. we have extended benefits for 40,000 residents. we have made health insurance 65% cheaper when they are out there looking for work.
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i think, as your government, we have saved jobs and prevented cuts, and also prevented a lot of painful increases. the last third is for rebuilding infrastructure. there are nearly 700 infrastructure projects approved in montana, and most of the work has to be done by local businesses. we saw last friday that the jobs
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were beginning to turn. sometimes on cable shows, these people have a selective memory. we started with a mess and now we are getting out of it. that does not mean we're out of the woods. we cannot just sit back and do nothing while families suffer. before the recession hit, we had an economy working well for wealthy americans and bankers, but it was not working so well for everyone else. it was economy of bubbles and
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busts. we cannot go back to that economy. if we want an economy that succeeds in the 21st century, we have to find a new foundation, and insurance reform is one of the key pillars. the key pillars. companies are not slashing payroll to pay for health insurance. until every american has the security and peace of mind of knowing that quality affordable care. and the fact is that health care touches all of our lives and a profound way. now, that also makes this debate and emotional one. i know there has been a lot of attention paid to town hall
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meetings going on around the country, especially when tempers flare. would you not seen on tv, and what makes me proud are the many meetings going on throughout the country, everywhere. you're seeing people who are coming together and having a civil, honest, often difficult conversation about how we can improve. that is how democracy is supposed to work. earlier this week, i held a town hall in new hampshire, and a few thousand people showed up. some have concerns, some are downright skeptical. people were there not to shout, but to listen and ask questions. that reflects america a lot more
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than what we have seen on television for the past few days. i want to thank you for coming here today in that spirit. [applause] now, i would like to talk briefly about what health insurance would mean to you. we still have work to do, and bills are not finalized, but i want you to understand, about 80% has already been agreed to. and here the basic principles folks are talking about. first, health insurance reform will be a set of common sense consumer protections for those with health insurance. for those of you with health insurance, insurance companies will no longer be able to cancel your coverage before you get sick. that is what happens to katie.
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it cannot happen anymore. if you do the responsible thing and pay your premiums each month, when the crisis comes, your son or daughter can be rushed to hospital when you are most volatile and frightened. you can not be getting a phone call from your insurance company saying your insurance is revoked. it turns out, once you got sick, they scour your records, looking for reasons to cancel your policy. they find a minor mistake that you submitted years ago. that cannot be allowed to happen. one report found that three insurance companies alone had canceled 20,000 policies in this way over the past few years. one man from illinois lost coverage in the middle of chemotherapy because his
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insurer discovered he had not reported gallstones he did not know about. a true story. because his treatment was delayed, he died. he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. three days before surgery, the entrance to cancel the policy. this is in part because she forgot to declare a case of action. true story. by the time she had her insurance reinstated, the cancer more than doubled in size. this is personal for me. i will never forget my own mother as she fought cancer in her final months, never worried about the insurance company paying for treatment. the company argued she would have known she had cancer when she took her new job, even though it was not diagnosed yet. if it could happen to her, it could happen to anyone of us. it is wrong, and when we pass
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reform, we will put a stop to it, once and for all. that is what max bacchus is working on. [applause] #2. the insurance companies will be prohibited from denying coverage because of your medical's. a recent report found in the past three years, thousands have been denied coverage. we will hold them accountable, and insurance companies will no longer be able to place an arbitrary cap on the insurance can receive in a year or a lifetime. and that will help. that will help 3700 households in montana. we will place a limit on how much you can be charged for out- of-pocket expenses, as well.
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no one in america should be broke. finally, mammograms and colonoscopy save money and lives. right now, we have a health-care system that works better for companies and for people. you do not have all the options, and we will help make sure your interest is more secure.
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i did not want bureaucrats meddling in your health care, but i also do not want insurance companies medaling in your health care. health care. under the proposal max is working on, more than 100,000 middle class montana residents will get a health-care tax cut. more than 200,000 will have access to a new marketplace with insurance offices.
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and we will do all this without adding to our deficit. without adding sweetheart deals for health-care companies. the fact is, we are closer to achieving insurance reform and we have ever been in history. we have broad agreement on 80%, and we continue to work on the other 20%.
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because we're getting close, the history is clear -- every time we are close to reform, special interests fight back. it happened in 1993, and it is happening now. we cannot let them do it again. not this time. because for all of the care tactics out there, what is truly risky, is a continuing like we are now, 14,000 americans will lose their insurance every day, and that could be you.
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premiums will rise three times faster than wages. the deficit will continue to grow. medicare will go into the red in less than a decade. for all the seniors were understandably worried, in about eight years, medicare goes in the red. given deficits, we have to think, how will we pay for that? change is never easy, and it never starts in washington. it starts with you. i need you to keep knocking on doors, talking to your neighbors, spreading the facts. fight against the fear. this is not about politics, it
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is about helping the american people. if we can get it done this year, the american people will be better off. thank you, montana. thank you, montana. everybody have a seat. we will try to take as many questions as we can. we will ask it to raise a hand, and i will go girl-boy, girl- boy, so i do not get in trouble.
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once i call on you, if you can just wait until they bring the microphone, stand up, so we can all see your lovely face, introduce yourself, and then i will answer the question. the lady in the blue dress, right there. right there. >> without going into too much details, can you pick and choose
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from systems that work, where we see a success rate and apply that to what we're trying to do now? >> first of all, it is important for everyone to understand that america spends $5,000 to $6,000 each person more than any other advanced nation on earth. if you think, how can that be, if you have health insurance through your job, what portion is going to health insurance? you do not notice it.
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but a bigger percentage is going to health care. that is the first point. we have a system that is less efficient than it should be because we are not healthy than other people in the country. having said that, most countries have some form of single payer system. they have more of what is called a socialized system in the sense that the government owns hospitals and hires doctors, but there are countries like the netherlands . so i'm not in favor of a
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canadian system, a british system, a french system. the majority of people get their health insurance on the job in our country. let's build on that system that already exists. people would lose what they have, and it would have to adjust to a new system. that is not the right way to go. all we have said is that in building a better system, what are the elements? number one, for people like you, you should be able to get some help going into the private insurance marketplace and buy health interests. we will give you a credit of some sort to help you obtain insurance.
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if you go on your own, is more expensive than if you go in a big group. so we would allow you to buy into the exchange that would give the power to negotiate. we would also make sure that if you do have health insurance, you are protected from some of the policies that have not been good for consumers. so you would not be allowed to be banned from pre-existing conditions, and we would reform the insurance markets. if we do those things, making it better for folks who already have insurance, making it easier for you to buy insurance, and helping small businesses who want to do the right thing but cannot afford it, op if we do
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those things, we can preserve the best of what our system offers. innovation, dynamism, but also making sure that people are not as vulnerable. that is what we're talking about with health care reform. we're trying to get socialized medicine, avoiding having bureaucrats medal in your decision making -- that is just not true. all right. the gentleman right there in the back. >> i think folks know that medicare is one of the best social programs ever put together.
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money does not grow on trees. how can we be assured that increasing coverage to others will not make medicare more expensive or less effective? >> it is important to know that medicare is a government program. when people say they hate government programs, but keep your hands off medicare, there is a contradiction. i want to be clear about that. [applause] medicare is a terrific program, giving our seniors security, and i want medicare to be there for the next generation, not just
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this generation. but if we do not make some changes in how the delivery system works, if we do not eliminate waste and inefficiencies, seniors will be vulnerable. what we have proposed is not to reduce benefits, they will stay the same. not to ration. we're asking to eliminate some of the practices that are not helping. subsidies and insurance companies under medicare amount to $177 billion over 10 years. insurance companies are offering what is called subsidies that do not offer more than medicare does. if we took that $177 billion
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pass. right now, when you go into the hospital, you get a procedure under medicare. if you end up having to come back a week later because something went wrong, they did not do it right, a hospital does not pay a penalty for that. they just get a pass. think if auto repair shops operated the same way. you take your car and, get it
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fixed, a week later, it is broken again, you go in, and the guy says, let me charge to again. that does not make sense. we will have overall treatment. there is a disincentive. those would be examples of the kinds of changes that could be made that are not reductions in benefits, but save money overall and will actually increase the life expectancy of the medicare trust fund, which is in deep trouble if we do not do something. as he said, money does not grow on trees. we are actually trying to preserve medicare and make people healthier in the process. all right.
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[applause] young lady in the back, there. right there. >> good afternoon. my name is sarah landry. i am a single mother of two children and a university student. i have son that suffers from many disabilities. he is disabled for the rest of his life, she is 11 years old and suffers from autism, he is not verbal, if he suffers from extremely hard-to-control epilepsy, and he is diabetic. he has been sick with these elements since he was nine months of -- old.
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what with this reform would happen with this coverage? >> first of all, thank you for sharing your story. you are a heroic mother. so we are grateful to you. your son is lucky. [applause] if your son already qualifies for medicaid, he will continue to qualify for medicaid. so it would not have an impact on his benefit levels and ability to get the care that he needs. some of the reforms we're talking about, what i referred to, when doctors are seeing a
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patient, instead of having five tests, do one and email than to all five specialists -- those changes can save money in the medicaid and medicare systems overall, and that will actually help governor slight sir, ku has to come up with half of medicaid each year. that will help him then be able to pay for it. so we're not changing the benefit levels or who qualifies for medicaid, but we do have to make the whole system overall to will but smarter, and make sure we're getting a better bang for the bulk -- buck.
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our system is not health care system, it is more like a disease care system. we wait until people get sick and then we provide them with care. think about it. are we better off waiting until someone gets the disease and paying a certain for a foot amputations, or getting someone with diabetes to change their diet. right now, health care does not incentivize those things that make people better or keep some of hospitals and the first place, and that is what we have to change overall to make sure things are better.
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[applause] it is a gentleman stern, and i'm want to call and that gentleman right there, right there. >> i am from montana. as you can see, i am a proud nra member. i believe that our constitution. it is an important thing. i also get my news from cable networks, because i do not like the spin that comes from other places. >> you have got to be careful about those cable networks, though. [laughter] [applause] >> max bacchus, our senators, been blocked up in a room for months now trying to pay for programs.
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you are saving here, saving their. the only way you will get money is to raise taxes. >> i am happy to answer the question. look. you're absolutely right that i cannot cover another 46 million people for free. you are right. i cannot do that. so we're on tap find some resources. if people who did not have health insurance are going to get help, we're going to find money from someone. what i've identified, and what most of the identified committees have agreed to is that there overall bill will
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cost -- let's say it cost 800 to $900 billion. that is a lot of money. a lot of money. that is over 10 years, though. all right? about $80 billion to $90 billion a year. some can be obtained by doing things i mentioned, like eliminating subsidies for insurance companies. i would rather be giving the money to someone without health insurance than giving it to insurance companies making record profits. you may disagree. i just think that is a good way to spend our money. but your point is well taken, because even after we spend -- even after we eliminate some of the waste that we have gotten with those savings from within the system, that is only two- thirds. it still means we have come up with one third, and that is about $30 billion a year.
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numbers change, partly because there are five different bills right now. this is all going to get merged and september. when i was campaigning, i promised i would not raise your taxes if you make $250,000 or less. but i said people like me, who make more, there is nothing wrong with me paying a little more to help people who have a little less. [applause] so what i said is -- what i said is, let's, for example -- this is the solution i originally proposed for members of congress. some disagree, but we're working
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it through. i said we could lower the itemized deductions like to take, income-tax returns every year so that instead of me getting 36%, up 35%, i will only get 28%. like people who make less money than me. if i am writing a check to my local church, i do not know why uncle sam should be giving me a better tax break that a person who makes less than me, because that donation means just as much. if we did that alone, just that change alone, for people making more than $250,000, that alone would pay for the health care we're talking about. some point is, number one, two- thirds of the money, we can obtain just from eliminating waste. and the congressional budget office has agreed with that. it is not something and just making up. republicans do not dispute it.
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and the other third, we would have to find additional revenue, but it would not come on the backs of the middle class. let me just make one final point. some people say, i do not care how much money people make, they should not have to face higher taxes. that is part of how we got into the deficit and the debt we were in in the first place. when the previous administration passed the prescription drug bill, that was something in lot of seniors needed, prescription drug help. the price tag on that was hundreds of billions of dollars.
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it amuses me some times when i hear the opponents of health- care reform on the other side of the aisle yelling about how we cannot afford this, when max and i are actually proposing to pay for it and they pass something that we leave for future generations to pay in terms of debt. that does not make sense to me. i appreciate your question and be respectful way you asked it, and i believe in the constitution, too. so thank you very much. so thank you very much. next question.
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>> i lost my job helping struggling teenagers, and i would like to thank you for your funding to community health clinics. i now have a new job, helping mostly uninsured people with mental health problems. i'm a therapist. so i wanted to thank you for that. but there was a gap and there were i lost my insurance. i would like to ask you how you will help people with add gap when they are unemployed. >> the stimulus helps people with that gap when we say we would cover 65% of cost approval. how many here have been on cobra
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or try to get in? for those of you not familiar with that, if you lose your job, you are able to allow access to cobra, which will pay premiums until you get your next job. sounds like a good idea. here is the only problem. as i said before, most of us to not realize how much our insurance costs are employers, because we're not seeing actual bill that is being paid mostly by them. so when we lose a job, we get this bill $4,000, $1,200, $1,500, so the worst way to come up with money when you lose your job. because this is such an extraordinary crisis, we said, let's pick up 65% of that temporarily so that the huge numbers of people who love lost their jobs because of financial downturns get a more substantial
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cushion. that was the initial help wanted to provide that bridge. when we passed health reforms, you will find yourself in a position. you will be able to select a plan that he can carry with you, whether you have lost your job or not, and depending on your income levels, you will also be qualified for a tax credit that will help you pay and continue your coverage, even if you have lost your job. for a lot of people, this is especially important. for people who are self-employed -- increasingly, if you're a consultant, you are the people elect the toughest time getting the insurance, because you just do not have enough employees for the insurance company to take seriously. that is what we want to do is to
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create an exchange, like the marketplace, where you can choose from a menu of different options. different kinds of plants that you think might be right for you. one of the options that is being debated is, should there be a public auction? i want to explain this briefly, because this is where the notion of a government takeover comes from. i want people to be informed about what the debate is about. the idea is, if you go to the marketplace and are choosing from different options, should one be a government-run plan that still charges premiums, you still have to pay for it, to start private insurance, but government -- this government auctioned would not have the same profit motive, it would obviously be like a not-for-
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profit, with a lower overhead, so it might be able to get a better deal. should you be able to choose from that option among many others? that is what the debate is about. now, what the opponents of a public auction will argue is, you cannot have a level playing field if government gets into the book with health insurance. they will drive private insurance out of the market. that is the argument they make. and that is a legitimate, fair concern, especially if the public auction was being subsidized by taxpayers. if they could keep on losing money and still stay in business after a while, they would want everyone else out .
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you would more than likely be on your private insurance plan, and employers would not stop suddenly providing health insurance. that is where this idea came from. it will not affect the debate in washington now. all right? there is a gentleman. right there. yes. yes, sir. >> thank you. given your comments regarding the public auction, i would like to ask. i learned that medicare pays
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about thank you for % of hospital costs and medicaid pays 84% of hospital costs, and i have learned this from a reputable source, my brother, a chief administrative officer of a large hospital groups. he also explains to me, when i communicated with him, that private insurers, his hospital collects about 135% of cost and private insurers, and that mix up the difference. so if public options are out there, will they pay for their way, or will they be underfunded, like medicare and medicaid? thank you. >> great question. anyone who was ever gotten a bill from hospital knows that this is a complicated area. here's the short answer. i believe that medicare should -- medicare and medicaid should not be attending savings just by squeezing providers. in some cases, we should change
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the delivery system so providers have a better incentive to provide smarter care, right, so they are treating the illness instead of just how many tests are done or how many mris are done or what have you. let's pay for, are you curing the patient? that is different from simply say, you know what, we need to save money, so let's cut payments to doctors by 10% and see how that works out. because you do have the effect they are talking about. they are talking about. each of us spend about $1,000 a family, paying for uncompensated
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care. people without health insurance going and getting fixed up, that money comes from somewhere. it comes from you. it does do not see it on your bill. so if we can help provide coverage to people so they are getting regular plans, we will find out about it, and i think this is the signal that i only have a few more questions. i will take two more. i have to call on somebody with a cowboy hat, absolutely.
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you have got a little plaque on there. >> we are a business advisory group appointed by the governor which serves three republican and two democratic governors, and i would like to welcome you. my question, and i am glad you called on me, has to do with cobra. i am in the lumberyard business. when the economy took a dive, i was forced to take my work force from 11 people 26, and like most employers, i want to provide health insurance. take care of our people, so to speak. so i